5 things to do in summer!

Friday 31 July 2015

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2 weeks ago, I walked out of school with excitement threatening to swallow me whole. I was free  from my usual workload, school pressure and I could do whatever I wanted with my spare time. I had the 6 week summer holidays ahead of me, and along with them a week abroad with great friends, days at home with family and plenty of activities (both pre-planned and spontaneous) to keep me busy. However, some people aren’t as fortunate as I have been and can end up doing nothing, and consequently finding that boredom has taken over. It is for those people who I’m writing for today, in the hope of brightening up their summer:

1. Go to the beach

A summer clichè, but a gooddun! As I used to live in a county that was surrounded by seaside I have spent many summer days on the sand and in the waves. I adore the beach, whether I am alone or among a large group of friends. It’s a place of tranquility and nature, but also of laughter, games and fun. I can’t think of anything much better than a warm day spent lying around on the beach with friends – having a barbecue and messing about in the sea.

Wherever you live there will be a coastline some distance away; perhaps it will take hours to find, but if you’re prepared for a full day out, it should be worth it.


2. Binge read

Yes, I know, typical coming from me… but still a valid point. Go to your local (and cheapest!) bookshop and commence hauling! Grab as many books as possible, whether they are thin and breaking paperbacks or massive hardbacks. Summer is the perfect time to catch up on your yearly reading goal or just to enjoy reading. With so much time on your hands you can read a book in one sitting and get onto the next one straight away. The best way to spend your time, if you ask me!

3. Have an arty day!

Go to your nearest craft shop – or art shop, stationary shop, etc. – and find a canvas of whatever size suits your fancy. If they have a picture outline already on them and you would prefer to have a base, get that one – it’s completely your choice. Get some small pots of paint then you’re set.

Have a blast.

Flick different colours at the canvas. Paint a picture. Do whatever you want, there’s only two rules: be creative and have fun.

The products of my artsy day yesterday

4. Have a day at your nearest National Trust property

This one is probably exclusive to us Brits (or anyone holidaying here).

All over Britain there are old stately homes and smaller properties that have been taken over, and are now run by, the National Trust. Each is filled with enough events and activity days to keep you going all summer long. There’ll be one near everyone and with each individual place comes their own individual way of doing things.

5. City break

City breaks are fun, especially if you live in a very rural area. Shops everywhere and the obvious tourist attractions, there’s plenty to do wherever you go. 

As far as finances go there are many discounts that can be found on various websites and apps. And if you don’t want to spend a full weekend away? Take a day trip instead!


Wishing you all a lovely summer

Jemima x
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What I want to achieve

Wednesday 29 July 2015

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I want to do a lot with my life, but at the same time I want to live quietly - away from the hustle and bustle of the world. However, there are a few things that I wish to achieve and while they may seem like a very small list to some, they are plenty enough to keep me busy.

I want to travel and see the world where it’s best; to be a spectator of nature and marvel at the beauty that surrounds us almost every day. I want to learn new languages and learn about different cultures. I want to have set foot on every continent and to have met new people on each of them.

I want to be able to write for a living, as that’s what I enjoy doing most and am best at. I want to publish at least one novel – to be able to hold a physical book that I know I have been responsible for creating. I want my characters to meet the people of the world and to be loved by others in a way similar to the way that I love them now.

I want to make a difference in the world, even if it only means making one person feel a bit better about themselves. I want to be able to say that I perform at least one act of kindness a day and to help anyone who needs me.

I want to learn to play as many instruments as possible and to practise my hobbies as often as I can. I want to read as many books as I can get my hands on; to delve into as many fictional worlds as possible.

But most of all I want to be happy. Happy with what I do in every aspect of life. To have people who make me happy as my friends and to know that in return I make them happy. I want to be living comfortably, but not extravagantly. I want to be safe and content with my life. I want to be able to say, when I am in my dying days, that I have had a good life and that I do not regret any decision that I have made.

We only have a short while on this earth; we might as well make the most of our lives and enjoy it.

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Lake Garda 2015

Monday 27 July 2015

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You may have noticed my absence last week, but never fear! I have not abandoned you. Last week I rejoined my previous secondary school as their orchestra, wind band and jazz band went on tour in Lake Garda, Italy. As I had been on the Tuscany tour 2 years earlier, it’s safe to say that I was buzzing with excitement in the run up to our departure.

The whole party was divided up into 2 coaches, both of which would travel across the country to Dover where we would take the ferry across the Channel to Calais. From there the coaches drove through the night and worked their way through France, Germany and Switzerland until we reached the Italian Lake.
 A lake in Switzerland

A journey that lasts over 30 hours is enough to drain anyone, however we all still managed to jump in the hotel’s pool almost as soon as we arrived.

On the first day, Monday, we visited the city of Verona: a beautiful city and the home of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. For hours we wandered around the shops and explored the market square, eventually making our way to Juliet’s Balcony. A small courtyard off one of the streets with green leaves covering most of the walls, it is a pretty sight to see in any place, but having the connection to the famous literary couple the place was packed with visiters. Over the years many of those visiters have marked their coming by writing on the walls of the archway that leads to the courtyard. Love letters and graffiti have been displayed there and the artwork continues to grow everyday.

That evening we held our first concert of the tour. Sirmione - a town that sits with three of its sides directly on the lakeside, and, as would be expected, is extremely pretty - was our venue and we returned to the town on our last full day in Italy and took advantage of its close proximity to the lake and its large number of ice-cream shops.

On Tuesday and Wednesday we went to a nearby waterpark and Gardaland theme park; both days were great, even if the scorching heat did have us sweating buckets (this was where the waterpark perhaps made us happier than the theme park did!).

Our two remaining concerts were held on Tuesday and Thursday, also in towns either near or on the lakeside.

I had an absolutely fantastic week in Italy. It was brilliant to spend so much time with people who, I know, are true friends of mine. If I could repeat the trip ten times over I would, but as for now I’ll just have to wait until August until I see you guys again and til, well, whenever, until I return to Lago di Garda.

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5 of my favourite films

Friday 17 July 2015

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5. St. Trinians

Everyone loves the rogue schoolgirls with a passionate love for their school. I am certainly no different.

4. Legally Blonde

Both the original and the sequel hooked me when I was about 10. I have watched these films countless times and every time I find myself in fits of laughter over Elle Woods &co.’s adventures.

3. Notting Hill

I only saw this film for the first time last year, and honestly, I can’t believe I didn’t see it sooner. I truly love bookstores and love stories, so a love story in a bookshop just made my life complete. And plus, we’re all suckers for chick flicks aren’t we?

2. Paddington

When I constructed this list I told myself not to include any book-to-movie adaptions. But really, Paddington Bear is more than just a book or two and I know of no one who can resist the young bear and his marmalade. His antics never fail to lift my spirits.

1. About Time

There aren’t the words to describe how much I adore this film. You may have guessed from some of my previous posts that I love to marvel at the odd, yet amazing, way in which we live out our lives. The exploration of that theme and the depiction of our complicatedly simple lives combined with a Richard Curtis script makes this film truly special to me. It captured my imagination and mind in a way that no other film has and all I can do (without rambling on about it for ages) is to urge you all to watch it. Some of you may just think of it as another chick flick, but others may share my opinion. I hope you find yourself to be the latter.

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Wednesday 15 July 2015

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I am in roughly the middle of my teen years. I will be turning 16 in little over 2 months and frankly, I feel unprepared and overwhelmed. The time has gone so fast and my life is flashing before my eyes in a way that I’m not sure I’m ready for.

People have varying opinions on teenagers. Some people hate us, while some people dislike us a bit less - and then we’re here: the actual people. Living our lives with no clue as to what is going on around us.

We are confused about almost everything. We have new friends and old friends and changing friends and general acquaintances. We struggle with new feelings of all kinds and the stress of a constant workload. We are told to act like adults yet are treated as children. We’re told to have fun, yet are ridiculed when we do. We are told to make brilliant memories, but sometimes the opportunity is never given. We are told to make friends, but not how. We are told to eat healthily, but are often given the opposite in schools. We are told to live and yet, many cannot due to the restrictions that we all face.

Our lives are forever ongoing contradictions.

At our age, we have the weight of the world on our shoulders. We are growing up and are told to plan out our whole futures in just a few short years. Our interests change and adapt as we figure out who we are and who we want to be.

Everything changes for us very dramatically and when hormones are added into the mix, certain situations can get rather maddening.

But being confused and learning is all about growing up. We’re nearly to that point where we’ll be viewed as “adults” and while most of us want to have the independence and responsibility that comes as we get older, there are still huge parts of all of us, that just want to remain childlike. I don't know about you guys but I still want to be able to have sword fights with rulers and to play epic rounds of swing ball when the Sun comes out. I want to sing nursery rhymes and watch Disney films. I may look immature at times, but if I am happy doing what I want then I honestly couldn't care less.

Most people just need to understand that, while we, as teenagers, do make mistakes – and we make A LOT – we’re still learning. We’re learning about life, about how the world works, about who we are and about who everyone else is. We haven’t been on the earth that long when you think about it, and there’s plenty of room for error in everything we do.

Teenagers are amateurs at mostly everything we do. A lot of adults are as well. Everyone is learning, and while mistakes are often plentiful, a bit more forgiveness and understanding needs to be put in the way of those who have made them.
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D of E: Bronze

Sunday 12 July 2015

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One by one we arrive; each laden with a sack a quarter of our own weight. We set off – the first out of the six groups – along the country track. Our pack of seven trek through the woods, every so often accompanying the bird’s song with a chorus of our own.

    Breaks are needed regularly, but fortunately they are not in excess. At one such rest we can be found lined up on the fallen trunk of a tree, eating and drinking whatever we can salvage from the depths of our over-packed rucksacks. We stay a little while, to listen to the soundtrack of the forest: a sweet blend of the bird’s tweeting overhead, the rustling of the leaves in the giant trees and the gentle crashing of the water flowing in a creek nearby. Together we clamber over the unstable branches of rotting trees before slinging on our bags and heading again onto the never-ending gravel path.

    We walk for what feels like an age. Over hills and bridges and rocks and bushes and roads we go; miserable clouds hanging above us all the while, constantly threatening to soak us with their innards.
    Soon we pause at the top of a bare ridge. It is two wild ponies that have caught our attention. One of our number checks the compass, throwing us all into panic. We see that we have come too far along the wrong path and, in attempt to rectify our mistake, we decide to hike even further, into the barren heathland. We carry on like this until we have completed a trail that is truthfully an unnecessarily large semi-circle. Relief spreads through the pack as we rejoin our previously planned route, allowing us to rest at last.

   By the time we arrive at camp the afternoon is all but gone. We arrive alongside 2 other groups; with 2 already set up for the night we are satisfied with our comfortable middle position. After an initial struggle with the tents, we try to construct a ratatouille, which, although tasty, somehow ends up looking like a pile of shriveled slugs.

   Finally the heavens open, spitting down on us distastefully as we finish our dinner. Night has truly fallen by now; many people have taken to their tents, though the majority remains outside. Our party, however, has split into our two shelters.

    I lie- my sleeping companions beside me – listening to the rain lazily batter the outside of our canvas pavilion, feeling comfortable and warm and happy in the darkness that surrounds me.

   Today has been a good day. We may have blisters on our feet and aches in our limbs, but it has been good. Tears of laughter, of pain and frustration have all been shed and pictures of our journey have been taken and recorded. We are tired as can be and our struggles have been plentiful.
    I turn over in my sleeping bag: we are just about ready for another go tomorrow.


Hello! By the time you're reading this I'll have just gotten back from my last bronze expedition, and I thought I would mark it by showing you guys something I wrote while on the practice expedition.

Hope you're having a great day,

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Being Me

Wednesday 8 July 2015

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Over the past few months my self-confidence has sky rocketed.

I have become ridiculously more body confident. I am completely fine with the way I am and have never been more comfortable in my own skin. In fact, I would go so far to say that I truly love the way I look.

I am comfortable being myself. I can be nothing but me, so why should I fight to change that? I love playing my violin, reading any book I can get my hands on and eating chocolate ice cream until I can no longer eat anything else for the rest of the day. I have accepted the fact that my laugh will be completely different yet still deranged every time I laugh, and that my hiccups are possibly the weirdest sound known to humankind. But that’s fine; it’s what makes me, me.

I have honestly never felt better about myself, but it pains me to see others who genuinely dislike themselves. Such fantastic people living their lives believing that they aren’t worth anything. It truly saddens me. These people should remember that they are amazing. Every human is. The ability to think and speak and form opinions makes anyone pretty brilliant.

Everyone is worth it, no matter where they’re from or what others tell them. And if you think differently about yourself, then start seeing the best parts of yourself.

Start saying, “thank you,” to compliments instead of “oh no, I’m not”.
Start doing what you like - even if isn’t the ‘popular’ thing to do.
Start wearing that bright lipstick you’ve had in your cupboard for weeks.
Start loving yourself and don’t look back.

Regret nothing, even if it seems like the most terrible mistake anyone could ever make. Learn from it and grow as a person.

Found on Instagram
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Summer Struggles

Monday 6 July 2015

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It’s no secret that we British react very badly to the heat. We hate it with a vengeance. We simply cannot stand it. In fact, our inexperience and dislike of the heat can lead to our whole country falling into madness whenever the temperature climbs over 25 degrees C.

Personally, this has been my first real heatwave away from Wales (if you don’t know about my move read my post about it here), and I can honestly tell you that I have never missed the sea breeze more! There’s nothing I hate more than muggy and humid days – the stickiness of the whole thing just eugh, no. I cannot cope at all during these times and the already dwindling supplies of ice cream tend to disappear at a faster rate than usual (oops).
I seem to be on only one side of the spectrum however, as there are many people I know who have been loving the heat. They’re basking in the sun and playing sports outside constantly, while I lay on the grass wailing that it’s too hot. I’m there stretched out on my bed, stuffing ice cream in my gob and holding an ice pack to my overheated forehead, praying that my hay fever will be over soon; they’re on a field somewhere smiling and laughing because the weather is just so great!

Well, at least someone’s enjoying the heatwave…

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